For starters, pot is an ecological disaster. I’ll just quote Scott here:
A 100-square-foot garden requires 50 gallons of fertilizer-laced water per week. That’s a lot of runoff. Then there’s the carbon dioxide. Marijuana thrives on high CO 2 levels during the flowering phase. Cervantes said that 700 to 1,500 parts-per-million of CO 2 is ideal, compared with the 380 ppm average for outside air. One grow website helpfully observes, "CO 2 is cheaply produced by burning natural gas." You might as well move to the North Pole and start melting the ice cap with a hair dryer. It’s hard to imagine legal indoor
cultivation passing muster with the environmentalists in Humboldt
For another, it’s not all mom-and-pop grow ops anymore. Larger outdoor operations are being set up in our redwood forests, often by Mexican drug cartels. Imagine going on a hike in a national or state park, or going about your job as a logger or forest worker on private land, and running across a bunch of guys with guns and barrels of chemical fertilizer. It’s dangerous and bad for the environment.
The house fires at indoor grow ops, as I mentioned earlier, are a problem, too. It’s funny — a friend who is looking for a place to live recently said "I’m not picky, as long as there’s not a drug dealer on the corner." I realized that in my neighborhood of old Victorians and bungalows, there’s probably a drug dealer on every corner. Doesn’t bother me a bit. But if a fire breaks out on my block, it puts all of us in jeopardy. And property managers are all too frustrated over the number of their rentals that get turned into grow ops and trashed.
And last but not least, it’s an issue for employers. You might be totally cool with your employees doing
whatever they want to do on their own time. But if they have to drive a truck or a forklift, do highway maintenance, work in a casino, or any number of other jobs for which drug testing is mandatory, I guarantee you will have a very hard time hiring anybody at all. I know a business owner who puts a sign in the window about the drug testing mandate their employees must comply with, and every day he sees job seekers walk up to the door, get a look at the sign, and shrug their shoulders and walk off.
As a gardener, I continue to be fascinated by the ways in which our local culture and economy are driven by this one illicit plant. I can fill my garden with castor bean and hemlock and no one would give it a second look, but look at all the trouble a little marijuana can stir up. (Photo on right: More pot-crazed depravity in Amersterdam.)